Frank Lampard

Why Do People Hate Frank Lampard?

Frank Lampard is one of the most successful English footballers of his generation, having enjoyed a glittering playing career with West Ham, Chelsea and the England national team.

However, despite his achievements on the pitch, Lampard has long divided opinion amongst football fans and has his fair share of critics. This article will explore the main reasons why certain groups of fans harbor animosity towards Lampard.

Played for Rival Clubs

One of the main reasons Lampard attracts hate is that he played for rival London clubs West Ham and Chelsea during his career. This naturally bred resentment amongst opposing fans:

West Ham Fans

Lampard came through West Ham’s youth academy and played for the first team between 1996-2001 before controversially joining Chelsea. This was seen as a betrayal by Hammers fans who viewed him as one of their own. When he returned to West Ham with Chelsea, fans vociferously booed and abused him as a ‘traitor’.

Chelsea Fans

When Lampard first joined Chelsea, sections of their fans were against the move as he was seen as a West Ham player. It took time for some to warm to him and accept him as a Chelsea player.

Rival Fans

Fans of other clubs disliked Lampard joining their London rivals. Manchester United and Liverpool fans in particular harbored resentment as he went on to achieve success with Chelsea.

Perceived Arrogance

Another reason Lampard has detractors is his perceived arrogance and ‘big time’ attitude on and off the pitch.

On-Field Antics

His competitive nature and tendency to rant at officials have antagonized opposition fans over the years. High-profile incidents such as him mocking Liverpool fans after scoring at Anfield have worsened his reputation.

Off-Field Behavior

Lampard has been accused by some of carrying a superior air and rubbing people up the wrong way. Tabloid stories about his private life and treatment of autograph hunters have painted an unflattering character portrait at times.

Playing Style

Lampard’s supreme confidence in his own ability riled those who felt he was overrated or overhyped. His knack of scoring crucial goals was also infuriating to rival fans.

Perceived Special Treatment

Lampard’s elevated status in the English game has led to accusations that he has been given special media and FA treatment:

Favored by the Media

Some believe Lampard received overly positive press coverage and escaped the level of criticism afforded to similar high-profile England players.

Perceived FA Bias

Rival fans feel he was treated leniently in disciplinary cases such as the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ Chelsea vs Tottenham clash. He avoided punishment while other players were charged.

Career Success Resentment

The level of success Lampard achieved during his club and international career inevitably bred jealousy and resentment:

Club Honors

Lampard won a clean sweep of honours with Chelsea -three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, Champions League and Europa League. This made him unpopular with rival fans.

International Longevity

Lampard’s 106 caps and 29 goals for England are records for an outfield player. His place in the ‘Golden Generation’ led to a perception that he was an FA ‘teacher’s pet’.

Perceived Luck

Lampard has been labeled a ‘lucky’ player by critics. His ability to be in the right place to score important goals infuriated rival supporters.

Perceived Preferential Treatment by Managers

Lampard has been perceived by some to have an unfair advantage when working under certain managers:

Father-in-Law Redknapp

His father-in-law Harry Redknapp giving Lampard his big break at West Ham nepotism claims. Redknapp’s staunch defense of Lampard has irked critics.

‘Teacher’s Pet’ Reputation

Lampard being a key player under Chelsea bosses Mourinho, Ancelotti and Grant furthered his reputation as a manager’s favorite.

England Managers

Lampard being picked by 7 England managers reinforced his image as the ‘establishment’ player. Southgate picking him as a veteran player in 2018 was controversial.

Playing Style

Aspects of Lampard’s playing style and strengths as a player have proved unpopular over the years:

Perceived Lack of Flair

Lampard was more renowned for his work ethic and goalscoring than flair skills or dribbling ability. Some fans found his no-frills style boring to watch.

Over-reliance on Goals

He was sometimes accused of being one-dimensional and over-dependent on arriving late in the box to score goals rather than create them.

Physical Approach

Lampard’s combative approach led to accusations he was a ‘dirty’ player who went down too easily trying to win free kicks.

Summary of Why Lampard Divides Opinion

  • Played for London rivals West Ham and Chelsea
  • Perceived as arrogant and ‘big time’
  • Belief he received special media and FA treatment
  • Resentment at his success and honors record
  • Perceived favoritism from certain managers
  • Functional playing style rather than flair or creativity
  • Over-reliance on goalscoring

Has the Level of Dislike Softened Over Time?

Lampard has arguably become more appreciated and respected the longer he has been retired:

  • West Ham fans have mellowed, honored he came through their ranks
  • Chelsea fans revere him as a club legend
  • Continued media work has improved his profile
  • Reductions in playing rivalries sees reputations reassessed
  • Achievements assessed in their totality breed respect

However, some pockets of resentment still remain:

  • West Ham and Chelsea rivalry keeps some criticism intact
  • Managers and media perceived to have protected his reputation
  • Lingering image as an FA establishment figure remains
  • New generations of fans still view him through partisan club prism

What Has Lampard Himself Said About Being Disliked?

Lampard has acknowledged he was aware of animosity from rival fans during his playing days:

“I understand it because I was the captain of Chelsea. Rivalry and tribalism are massive in football.”

He has tried to be philosophical about it and accept it comes with the territory:

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s all part of the tapestry of football.”

Lampard recognizes he contributed to it by how he responded to supporters at times:

“I didn’t cover myself in glory in the early days when I reacted to West Ham fans.”

Overall he remains unfazed by those who dislike him:

“You’ll never be able to please everyone. I’m happy people connected with me at Chelsea.”

Did Lampard Ever Do Anything to Try to Change People’s Minds?

There is little evidence of Lampard making a concerted effort to change public perceptions of him. However, some argue he took gradual steps to soften his image:

  • Doing more media work and PR to appear more personable
  • Cutting down on reacting to opposition fans’ barracking
  • Retiring from England duty relatively early to deflect criticism
  • Becoming an ambassador for children’s charity Right to Play
  • Taking on ambassadorial roles with Chelsea after retirement

What Could Lampard Have Done Differently to Avoid Controversy?

It’s unlikely Lampard could have avoided being a divisive figure given his high profile and success. But there are steps he perhaps could have taken to mute some criticism:

  • Not celebrating goals as blatantly against West Ham after leaving
  • Keeping a lower profile off the pitch and avoiding tabloid scandals
  • Publicly engaging more with grassroots football and supporters
  • Not reacting to fouls and baiting from opposition players and fans
  • Choosing to retire from England duty earlier than he did

Did Lampard Get More Abuse Than the Average Footballer?

Lampard was certainly a magnet for tribal hostility and partisanship. But there are arguments on both sides regarding whether he was singled out:

Yes, Lampard Got More Abuse

  • Played for two of English football’s biggest rivals
  • His elevation to England’s ‘Golden Generation’ made him a lightning rod
  • Media darling status bred resentment from counterparts
  • Goal celebration antics riled fans up more than most
  • High-profile off-field life attracted extra scrutiny

No, He Didn’t Get More Abuse

  • All high-profile players get dogs abuse
  • He avoided the extremes of hate that divisive players like Beckham got
  • Other contemporaries like Gerrard and Rooney got similar
  • Never had an incident like sleeping with a teammate’s wife
  • Kept a lot of ill-feeling private unlike Gascoigne

The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

How Did Lampard Cope With Abuse and Rejection From Fans?

By all accounts, Lampard was relatively thick-skinned when it came to dealing with animosity from the terraces:

  • Had a natural confidence and self-belief
  • Experience of rejection from West Ham fans early in career inured him
  • Tried to use it as motivation on the pitch to prove people wrong
  • Maintained it was just part and parcel of the game
  • Valued the support of Chelsea fans and England away fans
  • Off-field distractions limited time spent dwelling on it

But he has admitted it wasn’t always easy:

“You’d have to be a robot not to hear it sometimes and be affected.”

Lampard believes developing resilience was key:

“I realized you have to have that thick skin to make it at the top.”


In conclusion, Frank Lampard has arguably been one of the most divisive English footballers in the modern era. He aroused strong resentments from rival fans due to playing for opposing London clubs, his arrogant demeanor, belief he was favored by managers and media, and his functional playing style.

However, a lot of the animosity came simply from Lampard’s success and achievements breeding jealousy. He won trophies galore with Chelsea and became an England centurion.

Lampard coped with the tribal abuse and was thick-skinned enough to largely ignore it. Some arguments say he didn’t receive any more than the average footballer.

Nonetheless, he never made huge efforts to change public perceptions or clean up controversies he courted at times. But since retirement, his reputation has recovered and he is recognized more for his immense playing career and impact on the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Chelsea fans dislike Lampard?

Some Chelsea fans disliked Lampard early in his Blues career as he was seen as a West Ham player. It took time for some to warm to him and accept him as their own.

Why do Liverpool fans hate Lampard?

Lampard became a hated figure amongst Liverpool fans after scoring against them and celebrating in front of their fans. His success with Chelsea also bred resentment as a big rival.

Why do West Ham fans boo Lampard?

West Ham fans viewed Lampard as a traitor for leaving them to join rivals Chelsea. They booed and abused him on his returns, seeing it as a betrayal.

Why did England fans dislike Lampard?

Some England fans disliked what they saw as Lampard receiving special treatment from managers and media. Him playing at the expense of other talents bred resentment.

What managers favored Lampard?

Lampard was perceived to be favored by his father-in-law Harry Redknapp, and Chelsea bosses Mourinho, Ancelotti and Grant. He was an England regular under several managers.

How did Lampard respond to fan abuse?

Lampard tried to not let abuse affect him much, using it for motivation. He had to develop thick skin. But he admits some chants did get to him, and he regrets reacting early in his career.

Did Lampard get more abuse than most players?

Views differ on this. Some say he got more as a high-profile England star. Others argue all top players get similar levels of tribal hostility. The truth is likely somewhere in between.

Should Lampard have left West Ham differently?

In hindsight Lampard perhaps could have left West Ham on better terms by not joining a London rival like Chelsea. But the chance to progress his career was difficult to turn down.

Did Lampard change his image before retirement?

Lampard didn’t make huge efforts to win over critics but took some steps like doing more media work and charity activities. He also stopped reacting to fans which calmed things down.

Has Lampard become more popular since retiring?

Lampard’s reputation has improved since retiring through his media work and reflection on his career. With less partisanship, people better appreciate his achievements and impact on the game.

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